(Oct 17): Singapore said it wants all four of its carriers to introduce 5G services, with half the city-state covered by a standalone network by 2022 to maintain competitiveness in developing technology.

The telecom regulator said Thursday it will select two network operators to deploy the 3.5GHz spectrum band on a standalone basis, while the two others will get bandwidth for upgrading existing 4G infrastructure to 5G. The Infocomm Media Development Authority set a minimum base price of $55 million for each allotment and expects to award spectrum by the middle of next year, according to its statement.

The 5G network is necessary to “secure Singapore’s competitive edge,” S. Iswaran, communications minister, said in the statement.

The spectrum allocations will allow Singaporean carriers to offer 5G services by 2020, while some other countries in the region including China and South Korea are already offering some commercial 5G connectivity. Standalone networks are seen as crucial for developing and deploying applications from autonomous driving to remote surgery and factory automation.

Costs to build such networks may erode profit at carriers including Singapore Telecommunications and StarHub, which had asked the government to make bandwidth available cheaply or free.

The spectrum licenses to be awarded next year would run for as long as 16 years, according to the regulator’s presentation Thursday.

Singapore is already facilitating trials for its use it in drones, autonomous vessels, remote operations of ports and manufacturing sector, to support the use of the 5G technology.